Blog-Downtown Change Up
- Published: May 18, 2013
Yellow Springs downtown has undergone remarkable changes of late. The last month has seen a striking display of heavy machinery as village and businesses alike refresh and refurbish their spaces.
My two year old has been watching the installation of the new sidewalk on Xenia Avenue with great interest. Transfixed, for a couple days in a row he parked himself in the big picture window of Dino’s Cappuccinos, 225 Xenia Ave, to watch the main action. The noise from the jack hammer and excavator might well have been music to his ears. He’d take my hand to draw us as close as he dared.
The operator commanded the excavator’s boom with the dexterity of a puppeteer, and the machine seemed crouched in its task like a living breathing thing. Under the persuasion of its great arm, old concrete and tree roots gave way for a new order.
As the new order took shape, the interim chaos had its griefs as well as its fascinations. My five year old was a little wistful about the changes underfoot as we explored the outside renovations at the Winds Cafe, 215 Xenia Ave. Great piles of gravel and stacks of huge pavers were marveled over, but we also reminisced about the days and nights we spent on the back patio tucked into that secret garden of dogwood, ivy, and stone.
Whereas the old space was cosy and charming, the new space is vaulted and elegant. One evening, we climbed across setting concrete on a temporary boardwalk to find stately black metal gates in the place of slatted wood. The new patio gates match the metal fire escape which, in their company, is now as much form as function. Beyond the gates, large pavers were laid down and my daughter spun around testing the smooth, open, welcoming surface.
Gracefully designed by Nadia Malarkey and Tommaso Gregor, the space keeps charming elements of the former patio. The beautiful blue and white tile tables now play with the purple walls, the metal staircase, the brick flue, and the leafy ivy of the new patio. Bags of river stones filled the spaces between the fresh plantings of the patio garden. Flying deep purple sails provide shade and shelter.
The patio is surrounded by screens suggesting walls rather than fence. The screens are painted a deep eggplant purple to match the front facade of the cafe. An element from the front—the beautiful relief wood carving depicting a cafe table with a plate of fish, mushrooms, brown rice, and kale—now graces the patio winking at visitors as they enter the cafe’s front door. Only the walls of the Wine Cellar’s garden await attention as walls needed to be dismantled in the extensive reconstruction of the front sidewalk. The front sidewalk itself is compete and planted with new trees as slender and tall as teenagers.
The new patio has a special place in my heart already. It is by chance the site of my sweetest memory one perfect weekend in the year 2003. Ten years ago, my husband and I got married in the upstairs room at the Winds Wine Cellar. I threw my wedding bouquet from the top of the fire escape, and my favorite wedding pictures were taken in front of the ivy wall. Owners Mary Kay Smith and Kim Rose Korkan—with the able assistance of Nadia Malarkey and Tommaso Gregor—have honored that space and now reveal its magic to others.
As much as I cherished the secret garden beyond, this new garden holds more…a well of love and delight and a warmhearted openness that must be shared.